Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Running diary of news of the day -- click times for links (where available):

TSN has a neat sortable chart of all the free agent signings here. No need to recreate such a useful tool.

12:09 p.m.: Heatley announced he is not deciding whether to waive tonight. GM Murray old people if the Sens have to pay the bonus, they are not trading him. The game continues but the trading price has risen. Heatley=Dickweed. But he really wanted to come to NY. Sorry, Dany, you're still a dickweed. And I think that is a wrap. Sheesh.

11:14 p.m.: Official --Havlat to the Wild for 5 years at $30 million.

11:00 p.m.: Final hour before Heatley's bonus kicks in for Ottawa. The clock is ticking. Each minute is costing a bundle to the tune of $66,666.67 per minute.

10:44 p.m.: Catching up with my friends on Facebook (my office banned it) and I read that Blair Betts is on the Oilers. Not true. . . yet. I decide to wander over to Wikipedia and it has him now playing for the Devils. I am confused. Big time. More Internet chicanery or does someone have inside information?

10:28 p.m.: Back to real time - Martin Havlat is reportedly leaving Chi-Town for Minnesota. The Wild replace Gaborik.

10:21 p.m.: Sather comments of interest (with kudos to Andy Gross and Scotty Hockey for their transcription skills):
  • On Brashear: "I think our players are excited to have him in the room. They know he's going to be the man. It's a tough job to do. Colton is a good guy, he works hard and he deserves every cent that he got."
  • On signing the team's RFAs: "I still think we're in a good position. I don't think anybody's going to come after these guys at this stage."
  • On Dubinsky (a message to Brandon that the opportunity is knocking): "Dubinsky is capable of being a No. 1 center. If we get a chance to get another player, we're going to do it."
10:04 p.m.: Catching up -- the Devils lose 2 stalwarts -- John Madden to the Blackhawks for only 1 year at $2.75 million and Brian Gionta to Montreal (he gets to catch up with Gomez) for a nice $25 million over 5 years. Wow -- no Rupp, no Madden and no Gionta. Meanwhile, we will need a scorecard to understand the Canadiens' new roster.

Chris Neil turned down $9.2 million from the Blueshirts to remain with Ottawa for $8 million for 4 more years. He obviously knows how Ranger fans react to players who cannot stand the spotlight.

Former Ranger Jason Strudwick resigned with the Oilers for one year at $700K.

9:58 p.m.: And it's official -- Fredik Sjostrom is now a member of the Calgary Flames for 2 years at $750G per year. He was one of the team's better skaters who should have seen some serious power play time instead of the stiffs that Renney constantly threw out there over and over and over. He had a nice scoring touch in shootouts. I like him a lot. The replacement of the 4th line is nearly complete. Waiting to hear where Blair ends up. . . .Edmonton??

9:35 p.m.: Some evening thoughts (and thanks to my colleagues for reporting on the Gaborik signing while I was traveling home) -- it was obvious that Sather decided, with Tortorella's input, that the team needed to get bigger and nastier. The Pronger pick-up by Philly was a wake-up call. In comes Boyle, in comes Brashear, a run is made at Chris Neil. Remember when Betts was lying on the ice during the playoffs? Remember how lonely he looked as no one came to his defense? How many times this season did we see the mild-mannered Redden and Roszival turn the other cheek?

Snarl, barking and perhaps some biting.

The Rangers led by Callahan, Dubi, Girardi, Boyle, Brashear and Avery are going to hit and there won't be any turning the other cheek.

Scoring is needed so out goes the soft Gomez and in comes the sniper Gaborik. Antropov and Betts are not being resigned.

8:21pm: Former Minnesota Wild winger Marian Gaborik has agreed to a five-year contract with the New York Rangers. The Slovakian forward will earn $7.5 million per year. This makes it a new day.

Some thoughts on Marian -- Ottawa/Heatley's dicking around held up this signing. Ottawa had to pay Heatley $4 million at midnight tonight. To get Heatley in a trade, it was going to cost the Rangers either Callahan or Dubinsky plus more. Sather correctly refused to trade players on the upswing for a felonious whiner. Gaborik only cost money which was freed up yesterday. So Gomez was exchanged for Gaborik.

The most pressing question is whether Gaborik will play a full season. Reports are that his groin was successfully repaired but then he had back and hip problems, including hip surgery. All this for a 27 year old. He did come back late in the season and played well. Out for 37 games in 2007, 34 games in 2008 and then 27 more in 2009. You can understand the timidity to shell out big bucks for a potentially fragile player. During his career, he has scored 5 goals in one game (the only player since 2000) but he averages only 32 goals a season.

Final note -- reports have had the contract valued at $5.5 per year (ESPN) then $7.5 and NHL Network is reporting $6.5 million. What's a million or two among friends?

6:25 p.m.: Mike Cammalleri goes to the Habs for 5 years, worth $30-million. Perhaps GM Bob Gainey will keep his job. One scorer on the table for the Rangers. Havlat and Heatley are still in play. I can hardly wait to see the chemistry between him and Gomez. If they click, we will all grit our teeth.

Samuel Pahlsson leaves Chicago for Columbus. 3 years for $7.95 million.

6:07 p.m.: Defenseman Mike Komisarek leaves Montreal for Toronto for five years at $4.5 million per season or $22.5 million total.

5:45 p.m.: Trade news -- Leafs are trading Pavel Kubina to Atlanta in return for Garnet Exelby.

5:07 p.m.: Rumors slowly becoming reality -- several teams interested in Chris Neil, but the Rangers are the only team offering a 4 year deal. For more on the 30 year old winger, go here.

Latest tweets about Heatley report that Oilers want him, but he still has not waived the no-trade.

4:55 p.m.: Pitt announces signing of center Mike Rupp from the Devils for 2 years, $1.65 million. So the Devils lose two decent players in a matter of minutes.

4:50 p.m.: A flurry of announcements late in the day. Scott Clemmenson goes from the Devils and Brodeur's shadow to Florida for 3 years at $1.2 million per season. Good for him.

Erik Cole is staying with Carolina for 2 years at $2.9 million per season.

Hal Gill has left the Pens for Montreal for a 2 year, $4.5 million deal, so the Pens lose their first front-line player, unlike last year's exodus. Montreal fans are totally annoyed with all of their team's moves so far.

4:41 p.m.: Former Ranger and now former Colorado forward, Ian Laperrière, is headed for the Flyers for 3 years at $3.5 million. He was Colorado's franchise leader in fighting majors and 163 penalty minutes last season. Flyers have gotten even snarlier. I'm foreseeing some serious body-banging between the Flyers and their rivals -- Pens, Rangers and Devils -- next season.

Meanwhile, no news regarding a possible Kessel/Kaberle trade or Heatley signing.

4:36 p.m.: I find it interesting that rumors regarding the Rangers' interest in Chris Neil do not go away despite the Brashear signing. Is it possible that a trade is in the works to flip Brashear, get Neil and a top-flight scorer? One friend has posited that very theory.

4:11 p.m.: I am not saying I am happy about it but the Brashear signing appears to be the piece and the price that Sather feels compelled to pay to ensure that a prolific scorer the Rangers will sign is protected. I understand the logic. I don't have to like it. I understand getting a prostate exam, I don't have to . . . . Meanwhile, note how NYR has gotten snarlier -- Boyle replacing Betts (presumably) and Brashear replacing Orr. The Atlantic Division games are going to be entertaining this year.

During the playoffs, I likened Brashear to the beast in the movie, 300. Now he's our beast.

4:06 p.m.: Hawks' goalie, Nikolai Khabibulin, going to the Oilers. 4 years, $15 million. Blackhawks lose their 2nd UFA today. Havlat and Pahlsson remain. Blackhawks website already eliminated Khabi from active roster. It's going to be Huet's team unless the Chicago wants one of the Philly goalies.

3:57 p.m.: Jaroslav "Spacho" Špaček goes from Sabres to Habs. 3 year deal for $11.5 million. Surprising that Gainey could not get Kaberle but Spacek did have 45 points.

3:44 p.m.: Brian Boucher of Sharks now backing up Ray Emery of the Flyers. 2 years @ $925K per season. Death knells for Martin Biron and Antero Niittymaki.

3:14 p.m.: I'm starting to tire. I have visions of the Rangers' loss to the Caps dancing in my head with Blair Betts prone on the ice. I'm supposed to cheer his attacker now?

Meanwhile, Scott Niedermayer is staying with Anaheim for another year for $6 million. Thrashers have resigned Joel Ward for 2 seasons. And Columbus picked up Aaron Rome (D) from Vancouver for the proverbial dog track $$ of $550G.

Ho-hum. Wait I feel another heave ---> Donald F---ing -- 4 points for the season -- Brashear. 37 years old.

A brief bathroom break for me. . . .

3:05 p.m.: It's official. Donald Brashear is now a Ranger. 2 years for $2.8 million. Really, was the price for retaining Colton Orr that much higher??

3:03 pm: Mike Knuble goes from Flyers to Caps. Interesting. 2 years for $5.6 million.

2:49 pm: The Rangers' antidote to Flyers' signing of Pronger??? Zipay at Newsday is reporting that Rangers acquisition of Brashear is being finalized. The 4th line -- the Rangers' best line in terms of exceeding potential -- is about to be destroyed. Orr gone, Betts will be gone (signing Brashear is like inviting a rapist to live in a convent) and no tendering a contract to Sjostrom. Mark this moment down as when I became depressed over today's events.

2:45pm: Nap time interrupted by the news of Buffalo signing Steve Montador away from the Bruins. I scratched my head a little before I remembered him. 2 years for $3.1 million.

2:32 pm: Oiler netminder and near hero of the 2006 Cup Finals, Dwayne Roloson, to the Isles for 2 years, $2.5 million per year. Quality backup for the fragile DiPietro. Team will simply improve thanks to Tavares and better goaltending.

2:30 pm: Blackhawks get some muscle by signing Thomas Kopecky away from the Red Wings. 27 year old defenseman with 19 points and 109 hits. Now with skinflint former owner Wirth dead, the Blackhawks are continuing their bid to become relevant in the Western Conference.

2:17 pm: More deals on the announcement assembly line -- Ty Conklin going from Detroit to St. Louis for 2 years at $1.3m per season. Matt Walker, Blackhawks defenseman, goes to the Lightning for 4 years at $1.7 million per season.

2:06 pm: It's official -- Hossa to the Blackhawks. Terms are reported at ESPN as a 12 year deal at $5.2 million per season. Not a bad price for a quality scorer. We'll see if he shows up in next year's playoffs. He will be about 42 when the deal ends. Hossa gets lion's share of contract ($53.8 million in 1st 8 years of deal and remainder over final 4).

2:03 pm: Rumors now abounding that Donald Brashear may become a Ranger-- source are a couple of 2nd-tier Ranger bloggers. If true, I will burn my season tickets. Let's get Heatley and Brashear -- two criminals -- the fan/family friendly franchise. THIS IS DISGUSTING!!!! I will cling to the hope that this is a dumb rumor.

1:56 pm: Panthers resign David Booth for 6 years at $25 million. Florida is trying to keep their young core intact as they seek to improve. Meanwhile, they lose backup goalie, Craig Anderson, to Colorado. Anderson had a solid season (15-7-5) and is slated to become the Avs starting goalie.

1:55 pm: Blogosphere full of rumors that Marian Hossa is leaving Detroit for archrival Blackhawks. I think this means Detroit will be sipping from the Stanley Cup next June in keeping with the Hossa curse (Pitt in 07, Detroit in '08). Where is Martin Havlat going?

1:35 pm: As reported by my colleague, J, Dvorak has resigned with the Panthers. 2 years for $1.7 million per year.

1:25 pm: A Ranger out the door -- Colton Orr to the Leafs. 4 years for $4 million total. Not surprising because of the Boyle signing but I loved Colton. He had the balls that Gomez lacks.

Flyers' Fedoruk experiencing a trip to the stars courtesy of an Orr right hand.

12:25 PM: Vancouver Canucks defenseman Mattias Ohlund is going to the Tampa Bay Lightning with a new seven-year contract worth $3.75 million a season. 12 year career in Vancouver ends.

12:15 pm: Tentative deal pending waiver of no-trade clause -- Dany Heatley to Edmonton (rumors abounded all night long that something was in the works) for Andrew Cogliano, Dustin Penner and Ladislav Smid. No details as to terms yet. DEAL CONTINUES TO BE ON HOLD as of 1:45 pm. .

11:50 am: Sedin twins re-sign with Vancouver for 5 years. These guys like to play together and travel together. I am happy they are remaining in Vancouver because it's good for that franchise to have marquee players.

Last night:

8:45 pm: Jay Bouwmeester resigned with Calgary for 5 years at $33 million.

--- Tony V (with assistance from the gang)


  1. Hey Gray,
    I thought the word last night was that Heatley axed the deal with the oilers, because him and his agent wanted to deal with us.

  2. Radek Dvorak just resigned with florida for 3.4 mil over 2 years.

  3. J -- Lots of rumos about Heatley. Word on the internet "street" is that people think he is being a little too demanding and the Sens are asking for a bit much.

    Question of who has more leverage right now to get the better part of a deal.

  4. Ah gotcha. I heard it was a two man race before he cut down the edmonton deal and it was just a matter of time. Sens trying to deal him before midnight tonight so as to not be on the hook for the 4 mill bonus.
    By the way...
    - Colorado Signed Craig Anderson to a 2 year contract. no amount disclosed.
    - Andy Greene resigned with jersey. no terms disclosed.
    - David Booth resigned with the pathers for 25.5 over 6 yrs.

  5. With you on Brashear. What would we want with him anyway. Aside from character issues, "Huggybear" is on the slide now anyway and becoming more and more marginal everyday as a fighter. For anyone hating this jerk as much as I do, I present for your viewing pleasure:

    Exhibit A- Wade Belak Ko's Brashear.

  6. Outstanding...hopefully Gabby makes it through the preseason.


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